LPGA unveils first China event with Buick backing

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has revealed details of its first tournament in China, confirming the event will take place later this year at Shanghai’s Qizhong Garden Golf Club.

The tournament will run as a 72-hole stroke play event with no cut from October 18-21. The new competition will be sanctioned by the LPGA, as well as the China LPGA Tour (CLPGA) and the China Golf Association (CGA).

Players will compete for a total prize purse of $2.1m (€1.8m). The top 62 ranked golfers on the LPGA Money List will take part, as well 15 players from the China Lady’s Professional Rankings and four sponsor invites.

The LPGA, in partnership with the WME | IMG China division of the WME | IMG agency, has also agreed a deal for US luxury car marque Buick to serve as title sponsor of the inaugural event. The agreement runs for a period of five years.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said: “We are proud and excited to team up with Buick and IMG to bring our Tour to China’s largest city, Shanghai. It will be a delight to show off the talented field of female golfers from the LPGA, the China Golf Association and the CLPGA to the great fans of China who have always showed us tremendous support.”

Grant Slack, senior vice-president and managing director of golf events at IMG, added: “Women’s golf in China is in a very healthy state, largely thanks to Shanshan (Feng’s) phenomenal achievements in the past few years. 

“She has blazed a trail around the world for all of China’s up and coming players and is a wonderful ambassador for the women’s game globally. This event will be the perfect platform for both Buick, Shanshan, her fellow Chinese players and all of the LPGA’s star golfers to showcase their phenomenal talents.” 

In December, the LPGA revealed it would add one event in China and two in the US for its 2018 calendar, with plans to introduce a further three new events in 2019.